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Poetry Analysis: Death Approaching

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Introduction

English Laura Hui Poetry creates people, place and issues. Discuss how these 3 poems recreate a time or situation and to what effect? Death affects us all. However we are more often viewers, onlookers. Some people get to voice their last words, but little get to write an actual poem about death approaching. The poems "Remember" by Christina Rossetti, "Crabbit Old Woman" by Phyllis McCormack and "Refugee Mother and Child" by Chinua Achebe from the EDEXCEL English Anthology create and portray different times and issues by using vivid imagery, sounds and senses and some diction. They play on our emotional responses and provoke us to discuss this slightly controversial issue. "Remember" written by Christina Rossetti tells of a person, in what may be their last moments in our world, informing their loved one not to hold on to her memory and her death forever. Set in the 18th century, mourning and grieving for a period of time was essential. The poem is structured into a sonnet, 14 lines, one stanza. This gives it credibility as sonnets are harder to write. The poem starts off with "Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land;" repetition is used, "gone away, gone far away" to emphasize that the end is coming for this person. This line also depicts the image of the setting after death has come; the diction "silent land" creates imagery in our heads, a gloomy, grey scene, that's deathly silent. ...read more.

Middle

"Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?" these questions provoke thought. Starting from line 29 to 84, the author takes us on a trip down her memory lane, describing, almost in a timeline, what happened in her life. This creates vivid imagery in the readers' mind. "I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother, brothers and sisters who love one another," pictures the old lady as a small child. Line 33"A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet" here we see a teenager eager to meet the man of her life. Line 41, "At twenty-five now I have young of my own" paints a portrait of her as a young adult with children to care for. Line 46, "At forty my young sons will soon all be gone," line 53 "At fifty once more babies play round my knee" draws her as a grandmother with grandchildren to care for. The next event is where her husband dies, "Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead" this affects the emotions of the readers, depressing them. "I shudder with dread", using diction, the author has created an image in our heads of how she felt, how scared and heartbroken she was. Then, using simple diction to create sympathy from the reader she writes "For my young are all busy with young of their own," "I'm an old woman now and nature is cruel, 'tis her jest to make old age look like a fool." ...read more.

Conclusion

Another emotional response would be pride, "she held a ghost smile between her teeth and in her eyes the ghost of a mother's pride", the reader would be proud that the mother still cares for her child that has passed away. An image is produced, "as she combed the rust-coloured hair left on his skull and then-singing in her eyes - began carefully to part it" making the reader cringe at its grotesqueness. The hyphen creates a pause, emphasizing the "singing in her eyes" showing that she is trying to desperately make the situation better. The last part of the poem is very strong, "In another life this would have been a little daily act of no consequence before his breakfast and school; now she did it like putting flowers on a tiny grave" this is a metaphor for doing something extremely minor to make a situation that is completely devastating, slightly better. The poem leaves the reader sorrowful and depressed, leaving the impact of the disastrous situation to sink into the reader's perception. Overall, I think "Crabbit Old Woman" was the most effective poem. "Remember" was very sophisticated but hard to understand. "Refugee Mother and Child" was realistic, but the impact of it was very hard, leaving the reader very poignant. "Crabbit Old Woman" was fun to read, easy to understand, and also provokes thought. It changes our views of the elderly generation and it makes us wonder if we will be like that ourselves when we progress into our late years. ...read more.

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